Cooler weather slows large Siskiyou Mountains fire
By JEFF BARNARD
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The spread of a major wildfire in the Siskiyou Mountains along the Oregon-California border has slowed as temperatures cooled, giving firefighters a chance to build containment lines.
More lightning was forecast, and it could start more fires.
The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland reported that a fire 15 miles east of Ashland was 20 percent contained Monday at 72 square miles — 57 of them in Oregon in Jackson and Klamath counties. The rest is in Siskiyou County in California.
The fire burned six scattered rural homes last week and still threatens 270 more, about 40 of them within the fire perimeter. Structural fire taskforces from Linn, Lane and Benton counties were stationed around homes. Evacuation alerts on the north side of Copco Lake and in the Greensprings area south of Highway 66 remained in force.
Overall, nine large fires were burning across 118 square miles of forest and rangeland in Oregon, most of them east of the Cascade Range. Three of them were nearly fully contained.
Firefighters made a significant attack Monday on the blaze east of Ashland. The night crew was told to “get aggressive and get a lot of work done, taking advantage of the cooler weather,” fire spokesman Don Hickman said Monday evening.
Coordination center spokesman Tom Knappenberger says after two straight days of major runs, the fire burned only about 7 square miles on Sunday. Firefighters made progress building containment lines on the eastern flank, the direction the fire has been spreading through timber, brush, and the Klamath River Canyon after being touched off last week by lightning.